The Byram Township Council expressed displeasure with the New Jersey state government at its Dec. 7 meeting, especially pension increases and the blocking of unvaccinated legislators from entering the state capitol if they did not show a negative Covid test.
Deputy Mayor Raymond Bonker said state health benefits for early retirees went up 32 percent, and that the public employees’ retirement system went up 16.4 percent. That mean an additional $30,000 outlay for Byram Township, which must keep within the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap.
“This is exactly what I said last year,” Bonker said. “This is unconscionable fiscal mismanagement by the state of New Jersey.”
He also said it was “a screaming example” of why defined benefit systems, pensions, must be replaced with defined contribution systems, 401Ks and IRAs. Residents are being gauged and fleeced by New Jersey to make up for past promises that should have never been made, he said.
Councilman Harvey Roseff noted that last Thursday, members of the state Assembly were denied entry to the statehouse, by “not complying with displaying their medical history.” State police blocked the legislators, he said, but the Assembly members ended up moving through the police line after a few hours.
A hearing before a judge on Dec. 13 will decide if this is legal, Roseff said. The Assembly next meets on Dec. 16, he noted.
Furthermore, he said, instead of just the state police being at the state house, the National Guard was called.
“That is the current state of democracy in New Jersey,” Roseff said.
According to the Associated Press, troopers initially blocked lawmakers but later allowed them to enter the chamber without showing proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test.